2014 National Title: Soak it in Buckeye Fans


Jan 12, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer celebrates with the college football championship trophy after beating the Oregon Ducks in the 2015 CFP National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Each morning on my walk to work I pass a Metrobus stop.  The stop has one of those overhangs erected to keep soon-to-be passengers dry when it rains as they wait to be shuttled around Washington D.C.  The thing is dirty, cracked, and covered with graffiti; I like to think of it as a sort of community message board.  For some reason, known only to the people who study human behavior I’m sure, my eyes always find the same message, scrawled in black ink and all caps: THAT JUST HAPPENED.  Beneath this eloquent philosophical message is a second inscription written, in an almost reassuring hand, using tiny letters with green ink: yes it did.

Of course the logical question must be, what exactly just happened?  And that, of course, depends on who you ask.  Answers will vary between “The Saudi leader King Abdullah just died” and “Obama recently gave his State of the Union address” to “I just ate some fries from McDonalds” or “I just missed the bus.”  For me however, the Ohio State Buckeyes just won the National Championship.

“THAT JUST HAPPENED” -anonymous rider of the D.C. public transit system

I’ll say it again: The Ohio State Buckeyes are the 2014 National Champions.  It can’t be said enough; even now as we approach two weeks since that glorious victory in Arlington that made everything right in the world, I still find myself experiencing random moments of disbelief.  Did it really happen?  Did I imagine it?  Perhaps this explains why I have re-watched the game approximately eight times.  It feels reassuring in a borderline unhealthy way because, of course, I know the outcome.

It is so hard to win a national championship.  Did anyone really expect it to take 12 years for the Buckeyes to enjoy the same triumph the 2002 team enjoyed?  I know I didn’t.  That team was, similar to the 2014 team, generally considered to be a “year early.”  The quarterback was a junior, the star running back a freshman, the entire offensive line returned for the 2003 season, Chris Gamble and Dustin Fox were only sophomores on that 2002 team, and star defensive end Will Smith would bypass the NFL Draft and return for his senior season.  The 2003 team was loaded with talent.  After a mid-season loss at Wisconsin, the Buckeyes rebounded and were poised to return to the national title game if they could beat That Team Up North.  They lost.

The 2006 team ran roughshod over their opponents.  The Buckeyes went wire to wire as the number one team in the country and twice beat the second ranked team in the nation during the regular season.  Troy Smith won the Heisman.  All that was left was an expected coronation as national champions against a certain Florida team, coached by a certain head coach, in the BCS Title Game.  Well, we know how that turned out.  The 2007 Buckeyes were also a single victory away from claiming the national title game, though they were practically gifted their place in the game as a result of  multiple upsets during the final weeks of the regular season; after the Buckeyes had finished their regular season.  Ohio State would lose to LSU.

The next occurrence of the Buckeyes being just a single victory from the title comes in the form of the 2010 team.  Ranked number one after opening the season 6-0, the Buckeyes would lose at Wisconsin, marking the only blemish on the season.  The 2010 team would cap the season by beating Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl in what would be Jim Tressel’s last game.

More from Ohio State Football

Urban Meyer arrived on the scene for the 2012 season and promptly led the Buckeyes to an undefeated season; of course Ohio State was ineligible to play for the National Title due to their bowl ban, stemming from the sanctions following Tressel’s departure.  The following year Ohio State would extend their winning streak to 24 games after completing a perfect regular season.  Against Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship the Buckeyes would rally to take the lead during the second half after being down 17-0, before the Spartans would rally themselves and win the game.

By my count that marks six seasons (Six!) since the 2002 national championship where the Buckeyes either played in the title game or were a single game away from playing in the title game.  This doesn’t even count the 2005 and 2009 seasons; seasons in which Ohio State would lose early season games to highly ranked opponents (Texas and USC) before going on to win BCS bowl games.  The moral of the story?  It is incredibly difficult to win a national championships, even with outstanding teams.  From the start of the 2003 season to the end 2013 season, a stretch marking eleven seasons, Ohio State finished a season with less than ten wins only twice; and one of those two seasons was the lost year of 2011.  That is an incredible run of success.  Yet during that stretch the Buckeyes never won a title.

The 2002 season has that way of simultaneously feeling like ages ago, and yet I remember it like it only happened yesterday.  That was a special season.  By around halfway through the season you could not shake the feeling that this was a team of destiny.  2014 had that same feeling.  The Buckeyes overcame an incredible amount of adversity.  This season will be cherished forever.  While it is hard to imagine it taking another twelve years for another championship (that would mean the 2026 season!), now is not the time to start planning victory celebrations for future seasons.  Now is the time to enjoy the 2014 Buckeyes.  The 2014 National Champion Buckeyes!